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Author Topic: Do FT8 users pay for QSLs?  (Read 1057 times)
WO7R
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2019, 11:33:49 AM »

Here's some speculative, but useful math on the subject.

If the DXpedition team is worried about this, here's a way to deal with / control any losses.

Net Pct of FT8FT8 SpecialistsRegular DX Loss, FT8 Sp pay 0Loss, FT8 Sp pay 25%Loss, FT8 Sp pay 50%Loss FT8 Sp pay 75%
15.0%5.0%95.0%0.8%0.6%0.4%0.2%
15.0%10.0%90.0%1.5%1.1%0.8%0.4%
15.0%15.0%85.0%2.3%1.7%1.1%0.6%
15.0%20.0%80.0%3.0%2.3%1.5%0.8%
15.0%25.0%75.0%3.8%2.8%1.9%0.9%
15.0%30.0%70.0%4.5%3.4%2.3%1.1%
15.0%35.0%65.0%5.3%3.9%2.6%1.3%
15.0%40.0%60.0%6.0%4.5%3.0%1.5%
15.0%45.0%55.0%6.8%5.1%3.4%1.7%
15.0%50.0%50.0%7.5%5.6%3.8%1.9%
28.0%5.0%95.0%1.4%1.1%0.7%0.4%
28.0%10.0%90.0%2.8%2.1%1.4%0.7%
28.0%15.0%85.0%4.2%3.2%2.1%1.1%
28.0%20.0%80.0%5.6%4.2%2.8%1.4%
28.0%25.0%75.0%7.0%5.3%3.5%1.8%
28.0%30.0%70.0%8.4%6.3%4.2%2.1%
28.0%35.0%65.0%9.8%7.4%4.9%2.5%
28.0%40.0%60.0%11.2%8.4%5.6%2.8%
28.0%45.0%55.0%12.6%9.5%6.3%3.2%
28.0%50.0%50.0%14.0%10.5%7.0%3.5%
45.0%5.0%95.0%2.3%1.7%1.1%0.6%
45.0%10.0%90.0%4.5%3.4%2.3%1.1%
45.0%15.0%85.0%6.8%5.1%3.4%1.7%
45.0%20.0%80.0%9.0%6.8%4.5%2.3%
45.0%25.0%75.0%11.3%8.4%5.6%2.8%
45.0%30.0%70.0%13.5%10.1%6.8%3.4%
45.0%35.0%65.0%15.8%11.8%7.9%3.9%
45.0%40.0%60.0%18.0%13.5%9.0%4.5%
45.0%45.0%55.0%20.3%15.2%10.1%5.1%
45.0%50.0%50.0%22.5%16.9%11.3%5.6%

OK, this takes a little explaining.  The first column represents the hypothetical net displacement of regular QSOs by FT8 QSOs.  This very, very conservatively presumes that FT8 does not increase the total QSO count.  It also presumes a "traditional" five per cent for RTTY.  Thus, 15% represents an actual achieved 20% FT8, but deducts 5% that would have happened with RTTY before.  (If you don't like that assumption, just treat the first column as actual percentages of FT8 achieved -- it doesn't really matter that much).

The next two columns represents guesses as to the ratio of traditional DXers ("regular DXers") who simply use FT8 to get through and would just as happily use CW or SSB or even RTTY.  There is no reason whatever to presume they QSL at a different rate.  Whatever that rate was in (say) 2010 will be the rate today.  So, the ratio of "FT8 specialists" matters a lot in this thinking.

The next several columns represents guesses of what fraction of "FT8 specialists" QSL conventionally compared to "regular DXers".  The values range from 0 to 25 to 50 to 75 per cent.  Obviously, the higher the fraction, the less loss.

And, if this difference is a real thing (that is, the FT8 specialist pays more like 0 and less like 75 per cent), and an expedition does enough FT8, it could be a serious factor.  On the other hand, if most ops are "regular" DXers, then the losses could be pretty slight, especially if you assume that "FT8 Specialists" QSL anywhere close to a traditional rate (I did not include the 100 per cent as likely data for obvious reasons).

But notice, if this is a real worry, and you assume FT8 specialsts are sizable and don't QSL, there is an obvious way to "lay off" on the risk:   Just turn off FT8.  Do no Qs at all or no Qs past a specified fraction.  "Make" people use (or predominantly use) the traditional modes, even if it means sitting there can calling CQ on CW into an empty band sometimes.  It is not clear what the fraction of Qs lost to this strategy would actually be, but if you don't think there is any revenue in it, does it matter?

In other words, do a modified version of what Sylvano's team said they did at Visalia -- run SSB and CW, but deliberately control your FT8 Qs to a planned fraction of the whole.  Aim, perhaps, for a Baker-like 20 per cent.  Then, whatever the ratio of FT8 specialist payment to regular DXer payment, you have controlled those losses even if you don't know exactly what they will be.

On the other hand, if "FT8 specialists" QSL at even a 75 per cent rate compared to "regular DXers", then how significant all of this is is questionable.  It's a value judgement, but the number isn't obviously frightening. 

Critically, if FT8 actually represents a net gain in Qs (contrary to the very conservative assumptions above), then even a 25 per cent QSL rate of FT8 "specialists" versus "regular DXers" is still likely to mean more money.  There simply are no losses in that case because the gains in Qs (not shown above) wiped out the losses, at least at Baker-like achievements and more.


===>  A simple strategy that probably loses little to no money:  Have a CW and an SSB "tent".  Run FT8 from either only when the bands dry up so that the Qs are almost entirely incremental.  Call CQ with the traditional modes now and then to be sure you aren't missing an opening.  Gobble up the extra FT8 Qs.  Every QSL you get from that time is gravy.  Something beats nothing.

If you have a "digital" tent, then just run as much FT8 as you can. By all indications I can find, especially in F&H, your rate is so far in excess of what is achieved on RTTY, it is very hard to lose money.  An FT8 specialist rate of even 25 per cent QSLing is break-even.  Anything else makes money.  If you want to lay off, a bit, then run some RTTY, presuming that these ops QSL at "regular DX" rates.
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VA3VF
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Posts: 2312




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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2019, 11:38:34 AM »


Interestingly enough, one member of the South Sandwich / South Georgia team told me that OQRS increased card revenue.  Apparently, making it even a little bit easier to send money counts.


Of course it does.  If I can upload my contacts to Clublog and have it match my QSOs, and just send a payment via PayPal, I'll do that instead of sending GS, a SAE, and a paper card.  
You 'stole' my reply. Grin

In 2019, if I'm expected to make any discretionary payment/donation, it better be easy, read PayPal, otherwise, FORGET IT.

OK...maybe a P5, 3Y, the last one for the Honor Roll, you 'get the drift'. Smiley
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N3QE
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Posts: 5542




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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2019, 06:40:42 PM »

I'm not a DXpedition. But I've gotten maybe a half dozen domestic QSL cards with SASE's for FT8 QSO's, and am racking up a good number (low hundreds?) of bureau cards for FT8 QSO's with garden variety DX stations last year.

I help my sorter with the 3Q cards and I would guesstimate that 30% of buro QSL card volume is FT8.
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W1VT
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2019, 10:02:25 AM »

I recently had a European send me $2 bucks via PayPal to get a paper card for his 80M WAS collection.   Grin
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KD0PO
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Posts: 959




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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2019, 06:46:48 AM »

Saturday I received a German card in the mail with $2 for a FT8 QSO the week before.

Ray
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K4HB
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Posts: 487




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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2019, 09:56:27 AM »

For myself, FT8 has nothing to do with paying for a QSL or not. If I need a paper card, I need it for a reason regardless of mode. With shoe boxes full of thousands of cards, I'm not exactly wishing for more. For an ATNO, I definitely want a card for the 3 that's left. For a new band country I prefer LoTW, but will send for paper if that's the only way. For awards that aren't supported by LoTW like IOTA, I'll send for a card or claim the QSL via ClubLog as I've done in a few cases. There's some individuals out there (Not Dxpeditions) who want payment for a LoTW upload, and they can pound sand.

My activity since around the 1st of April has been FT8 on HF chasing WPX. I call the ones needed that I see or JT Alert sees. If anyone calls me in the process, I'll reply or make an attempt. I won't send direct for a prefix, but will reply if I receive a request compliant with my QRZ page. (SASE or $1) Don't receive many DX requests, so don't mind throwing in the extra 15ยข. I've received 2 direct requests for my recent activity from statesiders who sent an SASE and replied to each.

This morning, I received a notice from ClubLog that a Russian station is requesting a card through OQRS via the buro. This is the first time I've seen that happen. It's for a station I worked FT8 for WPX and already confirmed via LoTW. As most of us know, our buro is not free and my QRZ page states No Buro. This request will be ignored.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2019, 01:16:52 PM »

I request / send for a QSL if I need one. I always request a paper QSL if it's an ATNO. Band fills I prefer LoTW but if they don't do LoTW then I'll go paper. It doesn't matter the mode.. FT8, CW, Phone, Hellschreiber... if I need the card I need the card..
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K9NW
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Posts: 525




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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2019, 04:10:48 PM »

This morning, I received a notice from ClubLog that a Russian station is requesting a card through OQRS via the buro. This is the first time I've seen that happen. It's for a station I worked FT8 for WPX and already confirmed via LoTW. As most of us know, our buro is not free and my QRZ page states No Buro. This request will be ignored.


Is there a chance you accidentally set the  "Enabled /  Disabled" buttons to "Enabled" under the OQRS tab?  (Assuming you have not intended to set this to receive bureau requests via OQRS.)  I don't know how/why you would have received the notice without setting it to allow this.  I use this feature for a few of my DX calls - have never received any stray requests for calls where it hasn't been enabled.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2019, 04:15:00 PM »

Is there a chance you accidentally set the  "Enabled /  Disabled" buttons to "Enabled" under the OQRS tab?
That, or as I interpreted, the OP still wants a card in addition to the LoTW match.
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K4HB
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Posts: 487




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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2019, 06:33:41 PM »

Is there a chance you accidentally set the  "Enabled /  Disabled" buttons to "Enabled" under the OQRS tab?

Yep, that's what it was, thanks. Must have set it a long time ago and didn't realize to use the service you must accept buro requests as well. Should have read the instructions, like the old saying goes, when all else fails... Anyway, the OQRS function has been disabled.

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N1UR
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Posts: 143




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« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2019, 11:23:47 AM »

Thank you for all the very detailed responses.  It looks like traditional QSLing is alive and well with many FT8 Qs.

Now I know why some expeditions don't use Clublog OQRS.  As a volunteer service funded by donations, I respect their requirements.  As they say, there is more than one game in town when it comes to OQRS.

Ed  N1UR
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AE5X
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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2019, 01:37:58 PM »

The latest version of LoTW now supports FT8.
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KJ3N
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Posts: 497




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« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2019, 06:19:13 PM »

The latest version of LoTW now supports FT8.

You mean FT4.
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WO7R
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Posts: 3708




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« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2019, 07:14:45 PM »

To those who might need to know (from the LOTW home page):

FT4 is supported as a submode of MFSK

Thus:  <MODE:4>MFSK<SUBMODE:3>FT4

That should now work.

. . .a quick experiment also shows they appear to accept the non-standard <MODE:3>FT4  (which eQSL and Clublog appear to do).

In any case, one probably has to load a new configuration file to get this support.  You may be prompted to do so.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 07:18:23 PM by WO7R » Logged
AE5X
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2019, 07:57:06 AM »

The latest version of LoTW now supports FT8.

You mean FT4.

 Cheesy
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